Tuesday, March 21

Official rat catcher dies

The homeless orphan who clawed his way from destitution to the very heart of the British Government serving under three prime ministers died at his retirement home in south London last week.

Humphery the former Downing Street Cat who wandered into the official residence of British prime ministers during the last days of Margaret Thatcher's permiership died in humble obscurity.

For years the black and white tom stalked the corridors of power ridding them of unwanted rodents at a rate that any corporate pest control operative could only marvel at. With his favourite Whiskas paid for by a Whitehall allowance of £100 per year Humphery became a well known and much respected official cat.

Humphrey, named after the civil servant in the television comedy Yes Minister became the only cat to be the subject of an official parliamentary question concerning the 'great robin massacre' which thanks to his political tenacity and frantic denials by his Cabinet Office minders, he managed to weather.

Shortly after Labour came to power in May 1997 rumers started to circulate that Mrs Prime Minister considered Humphrety to be unhygienic. The Labour spin doctors whirled into action arranging a photo call with Humphrey and Cherry in the garden of Number 10. The intrepid cat clung onto his job but was, as is the way in Whitehall, he was retired later in 1997. The Number ten press office put out a statement that a kidney problem rendered him unable to continue his work.

In an interesting twist The Daily Telegraph third leader today highlights a much talked about conspiracy theory that has been aired in the Westminster village. The rumour being that when Humphery had been destroyed on the orders of Cherie Blair.

The official line that Humphery had been retired on health grounds due to kidney failure has a serious flaw. How is it that the trusted retainer lived on an other 7 years to the ripe old age of 18 (over 90 in human years). Was the cat that died last week really Humphrey - had the original been ruthlessly put down by the new occupants in the autumn of '89 and the facts covered up ?

Suspicions will remain and add yet an other blot onto the history of Tony Blair's administration. This blog supports the call for a Royal Commission to establish the facts.

Additional research by Hector

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